Hendley Market was opened in 1979, but the ghosts of Galveston gather here from the far reaches of the city’s past. What is now a fun and eclectic “cabinet of curiosities,” open to all inquisitive enough to enter, was once the site of many horrible deaths.
The Hendley Market is a marvelous place. Its walls burst with oddities, antiquities, toys, souvenirs, and various worldly wonders. But, it was once a place filled with anguish, hatred, and suffering.
Hendley Row, the four buildings that the market calls home, was built in 1859 and once served as a Civil War lookout, a morgue, and a cotton factory that utilized child labor. These less-than-cheery uses of the building have left it with a phenomenal, paranormal stain.
Multiple spirits haunt the building, hailing from different eras of Galveston’s history and reaching out to the living.
Will you be ready to face them as you comb through the multitudes of trinkets and toys? Read on to learn more, and next time you are in Galveston, be sure to take a ghost with US Ghost Adventures to see it for yourself!
William and Joseph Hendley were some of the most successful cotton merchants in a city that made a fortune off the lucrative and manipulative industry. Seventy percent of the nation’s cotton traveled through Galveston, either by land or sea. The Hendley Brothers capitalized on this industry early and financed enough money to build their new home, Hendley Row, in 1859.
The four Greek revival-style buildings where the Hendley Market now lives are the oldest surviving buildings in downtown Galveston. They lived through the Civil War, the following economic depression, and even the infamous Galveston Hurricane in 1900.
When the Civil War began, Galveston was the largest and wealthiest city in Texas. As such, it became a primary target for Union blockades during the early days of the war. Galveston was captured by Union forces on October 8th, 1862, after a four-day battle.
On New Year’s Day, 1863, the city was recaptured by a Confederate party and remained under Confederate control for the rest of the war. Hendley Row played an important role during both of these bloody battles.
During the first battle, a red flag was flown from the top of the building, warning soldiers and citizens of oncoming Union troops. At the Battle of Galveston, the second skirmish, the building was utilized by Union troops attempting to protect their recently captured stronghold.
These bloody battles left a stain upon the building, and it would only grow as the years went along.
After the war, Hendley Row continued to rely on cotton to keep its doors open. Slave labor was replaced with child labor, and the cotton industry thrived. Child labor laws were non-existent during the late 19th century. It was common for children to injure themselves, lose limbs, and die in these brutal working conditions.
Hendley Row was no exception, and due to this, Hendley Market is now home to various spirits from this troubled time.
The Galveston Hurricane of 1900 is considered one of the worst natural disasters to hit the United States. 10,000-12,000 people died in its wake, 6,000 of whom were Galvestonians. Some bodies were given burials at sea, only to be later washed ashore.
Others were stored in large buildings such as Hendley Row. Hundreds of bodies were stacked upon each other in these makeshift morgues, leaving behind a troubling amount of paranormal activity.
It is no wonder Hendley Market is so haunted with a history steeped in violence and death. Numerous spirits haunt the historic building, but five stand out from the rest.
Spirits of Hendley Market
All remain nameless, but their stories are told through their apparitions, which appear often and with intent.
The lady in white is seen in the back of Hendley Row, always appearing in a Victorian-era white dress. She cries incessantly, mourning the loss of a family member or loved one while pacing through the streets or up and down a staircase.
The Confederate soldier was one of the many casualties during the violent Civil War Years. He is heard on the rooftop, where Confederate troops were once placed on the lookout. He seems to be very active and is seen in his grey uniform, carrying a rifle, all across the building. People see him in the market window late at night as a full apparition or a mist.
The little girl and little boy are some of the most active in the building. Both appear to be looking for their parents and can be quite playful. The little boy is often dripping wet, an indication that he was lost during the great storm of 1900.
Only appearing when a great tragedy is about to occur, the teenager is the most terrifying of the group. He is missing an arm and dressed in a bloody worker’s uniform. An omen of doom, the teenager has preceded many sorrowful disasters. One employee saw him the night before her sister died in a car accident.
Now that you know the terrible truth of what happened within Hendley Market, are you prepared to enter? The unassumingly fun marketplace has its fair share of dark secrets and spectral entities. It is no exception in the grand scheme of Galveston, as many of the island city’s buildings are haunted by their horrible past.
Let us not jump into the unknown foolhardy. Trust an expert to guide your way. Take a ghost tour with US Ghost Adventures on your next visit to Galveston! Read our blog in the meantime to find out more horrifying secrets, and keep up with us on Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok.